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Why Do Americans Tolerate "Gate Waiting?"

Why Do Americans Tolerate "Gate Waiting?"

Old Dec 30, 19, 8:06 am
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by AADFW View Post
Also, 1.73 million passengersfly domestically every single day. The average American takes 6.5 flights per year.And a record 93 million Americans traveled abroad last year -- about half of those overseas.
Airlines for America (which is not a group I would think would under-estimate the number of air travelers) says that the average American took 2.1 trips per year in 2016. EDITED TO CORRECT: these are round-trips, so that's 4.2 flights per year. I think the number is up since 2016, but probably not by 2+ flights.

In addition, over half (55%) of Americans did not take a single flight in 2016, and even just looking at air travelers, 50% of those take 1 or 2 round-trips per year. So if we're talking about Americans who take 3 or more trips via air per year, that's less than a quarter of the population (50% of the 45% who do fly, so 50% * 45% = 22.5%). Certainly not a tiny number of people, about 72 million (22.5% of the 323 million US population in 2016), but not an overwhelming majority of Americans by any means.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 8:15 am
  #32  
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Originally Posted by andrewesque View Post
Airlines for America (which is not a group I would think would under-estimate the number of air travelers) says that the average American took 2.1 trips per year in 2016. EDITED TO CORRECT: these are round-trips, so that's 4.2 flights per year. I think the number is up since 2016, but probably not by 2+ flights.

In addition, over half (55%) of Americans did not take a single flight in 2016, and even just looking at air travelers, 50% of those take 1 or 2 round-trips per year. So if we're talking about Americans who take 3 or more trips via air per year, that's less than a quarter of the population (50% of the 45% who do fly, so 50% * 45% = 22.5%). Certainly not a tiny number of people, about 72 million (22.5% of the 323 million US population in 2016), but not an overwhelming majority of Americans by any means.
Never said it was an "overwhelming majority." But even just under one fourth of the total U.S. population is more than enough to wield significant influence over the way airports are designed and used. And it certainly doesn't mitigate the complete absurdity of the notion that American passengers "have no choice in how they access planes."
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Old Dec 30, 19, 8:21 am
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Originally Posted by AADFW View Post
Never said it was an "overwhelming majority." But even just under one fourth of the total U.S. population is more than enough to wield significant influence over the way airports are designed and used. And it certainly doesn't mitigate the complete absurdity of the notion that American passengers "have no choice in how they access planes."
Fair enough. Though I still think that the percentage of people that actually care about the bus gate issue would be much smaller than the fourth of the population who fly with some frequency, and I was originally posting because the 6.5 flights/year figure seemed doubtful.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 8:26 am
  #34  
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Originally Posted by andrewesque View Post
Fair enough. Though I still think that the percentage of people that actually care about the bus gate issue would be much smaller than the fourth of the population who fly with some frequency, and I was originally posting because the 6.5 flights/year figure seemed doubtful.
Claims about these data are rather mixed, but 22% actually seems low to me. Here's an article from 2016 on the subject: https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielr...han-you-think/
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Old Dec 30, 19, 8:34 am
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Originally Posted by AADFW View Post
Claims about these data are rather mixed, but 22% actually seems low to me. Here's an article from 2016 on the subject: https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielr...han-you-think/
My stats are in agreement with the article -- the 22% was my calculation of those Americans who take 3 or more round-trips per year:

So if we're talking about Americans who take 3 or more trips via air per year, that's less than a quarter of the population (50% of the 45% who do fly, so 50% * 45% = 22.5%)
Their first quote "Nearly half of all Americans Ė 45 percent - flew aboard a commercial airliner last year" matches the "over half (55%) of Americans did not take a single flight in 2016" statement I made.

To clarify:
  • 55% of Americans did not fly in 2016
  • 22.5% of Americans flew, but took 1 or 2 round trips
  • 22.5% of Americans flew, taking 3 or more round trips
The latter two add up to the 45% of Americans who flew in 2016.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 9:27 am
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Thought this thread was going to be about people who wait at the gate before their group is called...

Originally Posted by garykung View Post
I believe it may have something to do with ACAA, i.e. the law makes it more difficult to use temporary facilities like bus gates.
I'm inclined to agree with this, especially for new airports/terminals.
From an operator's point of view, it's probably a lot easier to accommodate (for example) a wheelchair by having the plane wait for a gate/jetway and roll it to the door than having a lift or ramp vehicle on standby at a hardstand for that 'just in case it gets routed there' moments when a gate is not available. Not to mention the staff training and the need for a ground level/accessible door at the terminal which connects securely to Immigration/Customs if required.

I don't see an issue with moving a plane to a hardstand if the airport is already equipped to handle embarking/disembarking from the ground, but I can't see airports building new hardstands just so a plane doesn't have to wait for a gate/jetway when they're full at the time of touchdown.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 9:36 am
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Why do non Americans tolerate bus gates?

I would rather sit in a plane for 5-10 minutes waiting for a gate (the most I can recall ever waiting) than to walk down stairs with carryon, stand in either a freezing wet bus, or steamy hot bus until itís full to the brim, then drive another 5-10 minutes to the terminal.

My last bus gate at FRA, we waiting in a hot stuffy crowded bus with the doors shut in front of the plane for a few extra minutes while a big wig and his wife slowly climbed out of a black car and ambled up the stairs and were seated.

An entire plane load of people were made to wait an extra five minutes so a VIP could pull up and get dropped off. Why Europeans tolerate that is beyond me.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 10:39 am
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How many Americans even knew this issue existed? Before they saw this thread, that is.

I can think of a dozen other things to complain about at the airport but waiting for gate space to open up isn't even on the list.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 10:39 am
  #39  
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Many major airports in the US aren't set up for remote stand deplaning and busing back to the terminal, or is done only infrequently (and at an additional cost to the airline). The US3 all have banked hubs which concentrates arrivals and departures. Consequently gate space becomes limited and if there's an issue like a late departing flight still on a gate for which an a/c has arrived at least with AA that a/c is forced to wait until that previous a/c departs.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 5:22 pm
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The OP is considerably uninformed. What is being described is preplanned arrival at actual bus gates with a whole support system of staff, stairs, buses, etc. Not as-hoc remote holding areas. The actual bus gates pretty much don’t exist in the US since we’re built out such that under normal operations all the planes get actual gates.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 5:31 pm
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Originally Posted by blueflyer3 View Post
One big positive of bus gates is that they provide the ability to board from both the front and rear of the aircraft, which is awesome. The only problem is that sometimes there are not enough buses, creating a bottleneck.
There are some gates at SMF where the front of the plane boards through the jetbridge and the rear uses air stairs. Its mostly used on flights to BUR and LGB where they are all air stair gates (at least for WN).

Also, I would guess the reason US doesn't use many bus gates is my experience is that most US airports have fair more jetbridge spots for airport size than comparable european airports. As such, they aren't expected to use bus gates, not even ULCCs use bus gates here, so they don't have the infastructure. That said, some older airports like LGA have some bus gates, while airports like BUR and LGB are pre-jet bridge and just have you walk a few feet to the airstairs.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 8:24 pm
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Originally Posted by bitterproffit View Post
Why do non Americans tolerate bus gates?

I would rather sit in a plane for 5-10 minutes waiting for a gate (the most I can recall ever waiting) than to walk down stairs with carryon, stand in either a freezing wet bus, or steamy hot bus until itís full to the brim, then drive another 5-10 minutes to the terminal.

My last bus gate at FRA, we waiting in a hot stuffy crowded bus with the doors shut in front of the plane for a few extra minutes while a big wig and his wife slowly climbed out of a black car and ambled up the stairs and were seated.

An entire plane load of people were made to wait an extra five minutes so a VIP could pull up and get dropped off. Why Europeans tolerate that is beyond me.
Well said
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Old Dec 30, 19, 9:35 pm
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I agree with the larger point about how inefficient ground operations are in general.

In the airline industry, you'd think that every minute counts -- idling planes, missed connections, crew time, and passenger frustration all represent costs -- yet they sure don't act like it.

I know there are a lot of complex factors and stakeholders involved in the process of getting a plane from gate to gate, but it's not rocket science and on the surface it seems they do a poor job managing it. I am not sure what other logisitics-related industries are (shipping ports?) are legitimate comparisons and whether we should expect more efficiency.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 9:43 pm
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Originally Posted by AADFW View Post
Absurd comment. Of course people all across the United States have collective influence over the manner in which airports are designed.
And the majority of US flyers hate bus gates at places like Washington National and Miami. Said displeasure has been so vocal that DCA is spending $400 million to get rid of the dread 35X bus gate area in a location where they really have to tetris the new terminal area into a fairly small footprint.

But the bus gates will be gone and there will be much rejoicing with great joy.
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Old Dec 31, 19, 6:27 am
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Originally Posted by paperwastage View Post
the plane can be scheduled for a gate before 30-45min. its's a deliberate design in a few airports for various reasons.

(eg LHR, force you to remain in common area to shop. other airports, don't want to build more seats in gate area. while some airports use common gates, so an airline may not know exactly what gate to use compared to the big3 stateside controlling an entire terminal)


KEF airport grew too fast, have to use bus gates (though with WOW gone, it may be better)
Most (all?) Canadian airports are common use terminals. Certainly at YYZ I know my gate before leaving for the airport.
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